Glen Phillips. At Avastar, Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, November
There is something precious about seeing musicians perform in an
intimate setting. Whether it is David Bowie
enthralling 400 people in Sydney’s Tivoli or Randy Weeks‘
getting Los Angeles’ postage stamp-sized Cinema Bar jumping, the intimate ones are the
most rewarding as the aura doesn’t just infuse the music, but it
seduces the spirit too. And last Tuesday night, another performance
was added to the list: Glen Phillips at Berlin’s Avastar.
The diminutive Kreuzberg bar ensured a cozy setting and, in
front of a handful of friends, a bevy of fans, and a surprising
number of people who were introduced to Santa Barbara’s favorite
son via his recent tour in support of Teitur,
Phillips threw forth an eclectic set of beared and borrowed songs.
What made this performance so special was the connection Phillips
made with his audience. Both performer and audience let down their
guard and truly embraced the experience of exchange.
For everything Phillips offered in passionately and exquisitely
executed compositions, the audience returned in praise. And when
Phillips asked what songs people wanted to hear, titles such as “I
Want A Drug” and “Walk On The Ocean” sprung from the room. For
equally apparent as Phillips laid-back disposition was the German
crowd’s awareness of his musical catalogue.
From the gorgeous “Everything But You” to a rousing rendition of
Newman’s “Political Science,” it was a perfectly tempered set
that Glen Phillips threw forth. But the evening’s finest musical
moment resided in an inflictingly melancholic new composition
tentatively titled “Rise Up.” A reflection perhaps of the forlorn
that everyone in the German capitol is currently feeling as the
skies turn dark and temperatures plummet, this is a song of raw and
His current musical adventure is Phillips’ first serious foray
into Europe. And while Tuesday night’s performance, by his own
standards, might have been witnessed by but a privileged few, one
senses that a much greater awareness of Glen Phillips won’t take
long to build. And when he is out playing theaters across Europe,
this will be one of those intimate shows that those fortunate
enough to be there will be passionately recalling.